Having traction to place your feet on a rock wall is arguably the most important part of climbing. Without proper foot holds, there’s simply no way to improve your climbing or to make it up many rock and gym routes. That’s where having the right climbing shoes for your feet comes in. Climbing shoes provide the grip needed to stick your feet to the wall, while also allowing you to land your toes on the tiniest of holds.
Choosing a Pair of Climbing Shoes
Choosing the right pair of climbing shoes depends on a wide variety of factors:
Your style of climbing is the first thing to consider when choosing a pair of climbing shoes. Sport climbers and boulderers will often opt for tighter shoes that give them more precise control over their feet. On the other hand, trad and alpine climbers need shoes that will be comfortable over the course of a long day – which usually means choosing a pair of shoes that is slightly looser.
The toe box of climbing shoes can either be flat or turned downward. Flat climbing shoes are generally the most comfortable since they don’t contort your foot and are all-around performers on less steep slopes. Moderately downturned shoes are better suited for vertical climbing routes and overhanging walls than flat shoes, but they sacrifice some comfort. Aggressively downturned shoes are ideal for more experienced climbers who need to make heel and toe hooks to complete their routes. However, these shoes can be quite uncomfortable for beginners since they force your foot into an arched position.
Climbing shoes can either be slippers, with no closure system all, or they can close with Velcro or laces. Slipper and Velcro climbing shoes are easier to take on and off between climbs, making them popular among sport climbers and boulderers. Lace-up shoes are more popular among trad climbers since they provide a more customizable fit.
Climbing shoes with rubber that is between 3-4 mm thick allows your feet to better feel the route, but it can also make your feet tire out more quickly. For that reason, thin rubber is popular among more experience climbers working on shorter routes. Beginner climbers and trad climbers will generally opt for shoes with rubber that is upwards of 5 mm thick. Shoes with thicker rubber will also last longer before needing to be re-soled.
Getting the Right Fit for Your Climbing Shoes
Choosing climbing shoes that fit your foot properly is essential to being comfortable and climbing well. Keep in mind that some manufacturers, like La Sportiva, are known for producing especially narrow shoes, while other manufacturers produce shoes that are more true to size. When sizing shoes, it’s also important to remember that climbing shoes made from leather can stretch out with use – up to a full size after a few weeks of climbing. If you opt for shoes made from a synthetic material, they won’t stretch out.
Climbing Shoes at addnature.co.uk
The easiest way to find the perfect pair of climbing shoes for your feet is to browse our wide selection here at addnature.co.uk. We make it easy to filter climbing shoes by style, manufacturer, and size, so you can quickly zero in on the pair of shoes that’s right for you.